Category: Dodge

History of the Dodge Ram – @Carcovers.com

History of the Dodge Ram – @Carcovers.com

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The Dodge Ram, also known as the Ram pickup, is a full-size pickup truck marketed under the Ram Trucks brand and manufactured by Chrysler Group LLC. The name “Ram” was first used in 1981 during the redesigned Ram and Power Ram launch. Originally, it was developed on Dodge’s light truck line, but the brand has branched out to other heavier lines over the years.

Source: Malachi Jacobs/ Shutterstock.com

First Generation (1981- 1993)

During this time, Dodge began displaying a Ram hood ornament on their trucks and vans. Since the line was new, Dodge decided to keep the prior model designations for its vehicles. “D,” “B,” or “Ram” referenced that the vehicle in question utilized two-wheel drive while “W” or “Power Ram” referenced a vehicle with four-wheel drive capability. When it came to aesthetics, the first-generation of Ram vehicles were essentially the same design as the previous generation Dodge D-series pickup truck that was first presented to the markets in 1972 with a few modifications. The new Ram model sported larger wraparound tail lamps, a newly designed headlamp, and new body lines.

The interior of the Ram line was updated with a new style of bench seat. The internal instrument cluster and dashboard came with a new three-pod design – the speedometer dominating the center, an ammeter on the top left, a temperature gauge on the bottom left, a fuel gauge on the top right, and an oil pressure gauge on the bottom right. For models that did not come with the full gauge package, indicator lights replaced the oil pressure and temperature gauges.

Other options for the first-generation Ram included a sliding rear cab window, cruise control, air-conditioning, bumper guards, tilt steering column, power door locks/windows, and an AM/FM stereo with a cassette tape player. In 1989, the Ram trucks sporting a 5.9 L V8 engine received a throttle body fuel injection for a 20 hp (horsepower) increase.

Another feature that was added (considered a luxury at the time) was Rear ABS. Furthermore, Dodge added an overdrive automatic transmission that reduced fuel consumption in many of its vehicles. This transmission, considered light-duty, was dubbed the A500 and came packaged with the 3.9 L V6 and 5.2 L V8. Also, a pushbutton called the “O/D Off” was added to give the driver the ability to turn off overdrive functionality.

For the 1991 line of Rams, the grille was redesigned, although it kept the classic rectangular headlamps and crossbars featured in past designs. 1992 included a huge upgrade to the engine (3.9 L and 5.2 L). 1993 introduced a 5.9 engine, new manifolds, multi-port fuel injections, and higher compression cylinder. This latest package was given the marketing name of “Magnum.” Also, a heavy-duty overdrive Torqueflite automatic transmission known as the A518 was packaged with the 5.2 L and 5.9 L engines. Eventually, an engine from the Cummins B series was added to the Dodge engine lineup.

For the very first time, Dodge saw an increase in its sales. The Cummins was recognized as a great engine because it could be coupled with a sturdier version of the A727 automatic or 5-speed manual transmission. The Cummins is available on Ford F-250 and Ford F-350 series pickup trucks

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The World Needs More Non-Ford Speedsters and These ’33 Dodge Parts Would Be a Great Start. Here’s How I’d Build It. – David Conwill @Hemmings

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I just came across all these parts stripped out of a 1933 Dodge Brothers DP Six. Presumably, that’s a sign that the body and frame are in the process of being street rodded. These parts are hardly useless, however, as they’ve got plenty of life left in them. Yes, you could set them aside planning to find and restore another ’33 Dodge, but I think they’d make the perfect basis for that rarest of creatures: a non-Ford speedster.

Early (i.e. pre-1949) Fords are neat. I love them. That said, there are a lot of them out there. Go to a prewar car event and Model T’s, Model A’s, and early V-8s are everywhere. People loved them and saved them and a whole industry (Hemmings included) grew up around keeping them alive long after the point when Ford Motor Company had moved on to more complicated and profitable designs.

Of course, even in the 1920s, when at times the Model T represented roughly half of the new-car market, Ford wasn’t alone in producing capable, affordable cars. One of its biggest rivals was Dodge Brothers, which had started life as a supplier to many of Detroit’s early players and was especially important to the eventual success of Henry Ford’s operation.

The brothers themselves, John and Horace, died in 1920, only six years after debuting their eponymous automobile. Dodge (which didn’t drop “Brothers” until 1938 or so) continued along after their demise, controlled by heirs and financial backers, especially investment bank Dillon, Read & Company, which acquired the Hamtramck-based automaker in 1925 and then sold it to Chrysler Corporation in 1928.

Dipping down into Plymouth’s market niche, in 1933, Dodge Brothers was positioning its Six seemingly against the new Ford V-8.

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Unrestored 1978 Dodge Challenger Features the Plaidest Interior That Ever Plaided – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

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It’ll be tough to find another car quite like this 1978 Dodge Challenger listed for sale on Hemmings.com. Granted, it would be tough to find another running 1978 Dodge Challenger at all, let alone one that hasn’t succumbed to rust and neglect. But to find one still wearing its sundown stripes and with an interior positively covered in plaid, well, that’s rare. The paint looks tired, and there’s some damage around the taillamps that needs attention, but the car is unmodified and has a five-speed. From the seller’s description:

Completely original and left untouched, hopping in this Challenger is like stepping back in time. With a 2.6 liter engine and 5 speed, manual transmission, this car runs and drives like it just came off the lot in 1979. It passed our driving test with flying colors and would absolutely make an excellent daily driver. The body is in good shape, with no major damage or rust. There are some slight scuffs on the driver side, rear fender (see pictures) but that’s about it. Original orange paint, stripes and top are all in solid condition. The trunk space is clean and dry. It even comes with a spare tire! The upholstery inside is as cool as it gets. Plaid on the door panels and seats looks awesome. Slight weather wear in the backseat is all in this otherwise nearly flawless interior. Original overhead console is still functional, the original am-fm radio still works great too. This is a mechanically sound car that is ready for anything.

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Transforming a rust-infested 383 Dodge Charger into a show winner – Thomas A. DeMauro @Hemmings

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John Hoffman was just 14 years old when the magnificently redesigned Charger was set loose for 1968, and he was convinced even then that someday he’d own an exquisite example of the breed. “I was in junior high school, and I thought it was the prettiest car I’d ever seen,” he remembers. “Then Bullitt was released and that sealed the deal for me. My friends liked the Mustang, but I was the Charger guy. I own that movie and still watch it once a year.

”John’s perceptions are representative of many who venerate Steve McQueen’s classic cop drama, which features one of the greatest car chases ever filmed, and has elevated the 1968 Charger to a pop culture icon. The Dodge’s allure isn’t limited to its cinematic appearance, however, as its engaging design continues to mesmerize even jaded muscle car fans.

All the Charger’s curves and creases were in just the right places. Its Coke-bottle shape, broad grille with concealed headlamps, flying-buttress roof that looked like a semi-fastback from the side but featured a recessed backlite, “racing-style” gas cap, and even the taillights conspired to create a muscular and cohesive visual presentation.

By the early 2000s, with vintage car values rising, John began getting that now-or-never feeling. The Telford, Pennsylvania, resident knew he’d better buy his ’68 before he was priced out of the market. His finances still wouldn’t allow a fully restored example, so he instead sought out one that needed work but was mostly original.

In August 2003, he spotted this Charger online, for sale in Kansas City, Missouri. It was an early build car and was desirably optioned with the 330-hp 383 V-8 with dual exhausts, TorqueFlite automatic, 3.23:1 Sure Grip rear end, air conditioning, tinted windows, driver’s-side remote-control outside mirror, cruise control, radio, center cushion with armrest between the bucket seats, power steering, and power brakes.

John noted that it still had its factory-applied F5 green paint and assembly-line-installed interior and powertrain. He says, “I liked this car because it was very original and seemed like it must have been ordered by an older buyer who didn’t mess around with it.”

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A 1958 Dodge Royal Lancer battles back from project car to show winner – Jim Black @Hemmings

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Big fins and wide whitewalls were all the rage in the late ’50s and no one did it better than the Chrysler divisions. Dual exhausts were an extra cost option. Jim Black

United States car sales slumped in 1958 due to a nationwide recession, but, on the heels of a successful 1957, Dodge rolled out an updated lineup. The division’s 1958 cars were longer, lower, wider, more colorful, and sported an abundance of chrome. Plus, Dodge’s model offerings consisted of the entry-level Coronet, the Royal, the Custom Royal, and a new, top-of-the-line Regal Lancer. Dodge described them as the “Swept-Wing” 1958s in all of its marketing brochures.

Phil Shaw, from Auburn, Nebraska, is a 64-year-old retired UPS driver and Mopar enthusiast of the first order. Phil was looking for a retirement project that spanned the 1957-’59 Dodges when he came across a 1958 Dodge for sale online. The owner was from Norway, the ad was confusing to read, and a gallery of low-quality photos made it difficult to determine the car’s overall condition.

“The owner told me he had purchased the car online, from a seller in Bradenton, Florida, and then had it shipped to a shop in Rosenberg, Texas, to begin the restoration,” Phil says. “But after some work had been done he halted the restoration. He found out a short time later that he was terminally ill with cancer and decided not to see the job through.”

An RCA record player was a rare option not found on many cars of this era. The 45-rpm player held 13 records and played them upside down, so that the weight of the record kept the needle from skipping.

At that point, the car had also been completely disassembled and media blasted, and the shop had performed some sheetmetal repair on the floorpans and trunk floor. Reluctantly, Phil decided to bid on the ’58, not sure exactly what to expect since he had not seen the car in person. He won the auction and purchased the car in January of 2011. No other potential buyers bid against him, which sent up another red flag.

“I picked the car up a few days later. All the window glass had been discarded, and all the parts were in boxes and not well identified,” Phil says. “I examined the bare body and saw that a lot of rust repair was needed around the back window, but the rest of the body seemed to be solid and in good shape.”

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You couldn’t steal this ARMORED DODGE TRUCK if you tried!! – Dennis Collins @CoffeeWalk

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Welcome to Coffee Walk Ep. 153! This week I loaded up the truck and trailer with my son, Connor, to head down south to Mount Pleasant, Texas to buy a 1940’s Armored Dodge Truck that is so ugly… it’s actually beautiful!! Special thanks to our #1 finder in the Nation, Mike Tabbi, for the lead and to “Mount Pleasant Burgers & Fries” for getting us fed- that sure was a dang good burger!

Which one of these 4×4 trucks from the early Seventies would you choose for your dream garage? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings

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Believe it or not, the ancestral lineage of the modern four-wheel-drive system dates to 1893. Bramah Joseph Diplock, an English engineer, patented a four-wheel-drive system that year, designed for a steam-powered traction engine. The concept was then adopted by would-be dignitaries in the self-propelled industry, including Ferdinand Porsche (in 1899), Daimler-Benz (1907), Marmon-Herrington (1931), and a host of others, including American Bantam, which designed the prototype general purpose vehicle that famously became the jeep built by Willys and Ford during World War II. Three decades later, the 4×4 drive system – offered by multiple corporations – had attained a long-established reputation for uncompromising off-road durability. In our latest edition of This or That, we’re celebrating 4×4 vehicles from the early Seventies. Let’s take a closer look at four examples for you to ponder, all of which are currently available in the Hemmings classifieds.

Arguably, Jeep made the 4×4 vehicle both fun and affordable for the masses with a contemporary system that was truly battle-tested. Its proliferation beyond what became the CJ was hard to miss, offered in larger platforms such as this Commando-based Super Commando II from 1972. This was one of but a couple years in which the Commando line did not include the Jeepster name, and convertibles, like our featured vehicle, came standard with a removable hardtop, V-8 engine and, of course, the four-wheel-drive system. According to portions of the seller’s listing

The Commando had its own new front end and unique sheetmetal that made it one of the most distinctive Jeeps in decades. What makes this one even more distinct is it’s done in range-topping Super Commando II trim. While we don’t have the paperwork to confirm an SC2, the appearance absolutely shows the premium feeling correctly…The darker blue streak highlights the power bulge in the hood, and the full-length stripe is a reminder that these had flush-fitting front fenders…The sea of blue continues inside, and it shows off quite a comfy interior. You have high-back bucket seats with a velour pattern, and the door panels were even done to match…the dash has a great classic look with a clean pad, factory speedometer, heat/defrost controls, and even the locking hub instructions are still affixed. You’ll also notice well-integrated upgrades for more confident driving, including the auxiliary gauges…This optional 304 cubic-inch unit looks authentic and authoritative under the hood…A three-speed automatic transmission, power steering, and Goodyear tires make for a good all-around cruiser…Plus, don’t forget as a true jeep you have a proper two-speed 4×4 transfer case.

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What is a Hemi? – Dan Carney @DesignNews

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Have you spotted a Mopar hot rod and wondered, “That thang got a Hemi innit?

Chrysler vehicles have long been renowned for their Hemi V8 engines, which are legendary for their power and performance. Remember the silly “That thang got a Hemi innit?” commercials from the aughts, with the two goofball fanboys interrogating owners of new Dodge vehicles about their engine status?

Most people know that a Hemi means performance, but how many people actually know what “hemi” means? That’s why we’re here. “Hemi” is a reference to the engine’s combustion chamber shape. It is short for “semi-hemispherical,” which means that the combustion chamber space cast into the engine’s heads looks like it was carved out with an ice cream scoop.

Chrysler vehicles have long been renowned for their Hemi V8 engines, which are legendary for their power and performance. Remember the silly “That thang got a Hemi innit?” commercials from the aughts, with the two goofball fanboys interrogating owners of new Dodge vehicles about their engine status?

Most people know that a Hemi means performance, but how many people actually know what “hemi” means? That’s why we’re here. “Hemi” is a reference to the engine’s combustion chamber shape. It is short for “semi-hemispherical,” which means that the combustion chamber space cast into the engine’s heads looks like it was carved out with an ice cream scoop.

“If you cut a ball in half, the rounded top is the combustion chamber shape,” explained Brandt Rosenbush, company historian for Chrysler, which is now part of a company called “Stellantis” following the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles with Peugeot.

A semi-hemispherical combustion chamber has the minimal possible surface-area-to-volume ratio, so less energy is lost as heat through the combustion chamber’s surface, said Rosenbush. It also enjoys good volumetric efficiency because the dome combustion chamber shape provides ample room for large intake and exhaust valves.

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